Standing in a pile of damaged glass in northern Lebanon, a person heaved shovel-loads of shards — retrieved from Beirut after the huge explosion at its port — right into a red-hot furnace.
Melted down at a manufacturing facility within the second metropolis Tripoli, they re-emerged as molten glass able to be recycled into conventional slim-necked water jugs.
The August 4 port explosion ripped by numerous glass doorways and home windows when it laid waste to complete Beirut neighbourhoods, killing a minimum of 190 individuals and wounding hundreds extra.
Volunteers, non-governmental teams and entrepreneurs have tried to salvage a minimum of a part of the tonnes of glass that littered the streets, a few of it by recycling at Wissam Hammoud’s household’s glass manufacturing facility.
“Here we have glass from the Beirut explosion,” mentioned Hammoud, deputy head on the United Glass Production Company (Uniglass), as a number of males sorted by a mound of shards outdoors the constructing.
“Organisations are bringing it to us so that we can remanufacture it,” mentioned the 24-year-old.
As staff washed and stacked jars behind him, Hammoud mentioned between 20 and 22 tonnes of glass had been delivered to the manufacturing facility, a hive of rhythmic exercise centred across the furnace that burns at 900-1,200 levels Celsius (1,650-2,190 Fahrenheit).
Nearby, three males produced jars stamped out of a mildew in a rigorously choreographed sequence, whereas one other two dealt with the extra delicate technique of blowing and forming the normal Lebanese pitchers.
“We work 24 hours a day,” Hammoud mentioned. “We can’t stop because stopping costs too much money.”
– Helping native trade –
Ziad Abichaker, CEO of environmental engineering firm Cedar Environmental, has spearheaded a number of glass recycling initiatives in Lebanon.
In the primary days after the blast, he teamed up with civil-society organisations and a number of volunteers to give you a plan to maintain as a lot glass as attainable out of landfills already overburdened by a decades-old strong waste disaster.
“We decided that at least part of the shattered glass… our local industries should benefit from as a raw material,” Abichaker instructed AFP.
“We’re diverting glass from ending up in the landfill, we’re supplying our local industries with free raw material,” he added.
According to him, greater than 5,000 tonnes of glass was shattered by the explosion.
From mid-August to September 2, nearly 58 tonnes had been despatched for reuse at Uniglass and Koub/Golden Glass in Tripoli.
Abichaker mentioned he hoped, with funding, to convey the full to 250 tonnes.
– ‘Tip of the iceberg’ –
At the volunteer hub dubbed the Base Camp in Beirut’s hard-hit Mar Mikhael district, younger women and men kitted out with sturdy footwear, masks and heavy gloves kind the glass, pulling bits of detritus out of the piled shards below a scorching solar.
Anthony Abdel Karim, who months earlier than the blast had launched an upcycling glass venture referred to as Annine Fadye or “Empty Bottle” in Arabic, coordinates the operations.
We have “mountains of waste that are piling up in Beirut, they’re mixed with everything. Glass and rubble and metal are mixed with organic waste… and this is not healthy,” he mentioned.
“We don’t have proper recycling in Lebanon.”
Abdel Karim was drawn to recycling glass after seeing enormous numbers of bottles being thrown out whereas working in occasions administration in Beirut’s nightlife, one of many metropolis’s calling playing cards first quieted by the pandemic and financial disaster, and now battered by the blast.
Glass from the explosion poses totally different challenges from bottles, as a lot of it’s soiled, so the initiative focuses on gathering glass from inside properties and different buildings, organising a hotline the place individuals can request pickup.
Abdel Karim mentioned they intention to search out different methods of recycling the glass that isn’t appropriate to ship to Tripoli, presumably by crushing it for use in cement or different supplies.
“This is the tip of the iceberg,” he mentioned, noting only a fraction of the glass to date had been collected and repurposed.
“It needs a lot of time, we know that.”
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